MAURICIO Pochettino was left highly frustrated that Saints failed to claim a rare point at Old Trafford last night.
Saints dominated the second half at Manchester United, only to lose 2-1 to a Wayne Rooney first half double after Jay Rodriguez had fired the visitors into a shock early lead.
Many fans would have been satisfied to see Saints pin back United for large swathes of the game at Old Trafford – even in defeat – but Pochettino was not so happy.
He said: “Especially taking into account the second half, we should have at least got a draw.
“In the first half, after we scored, we should have been able to control more the game.
“We should have been a lot more aggressive and we should have neutralised their attacking chances a lot more.
“Perhaps in the first half we didn’t play as good as we should have.
“We were a bit unlucky in front of goal but especially going forward the way we played in the second half is the way we want to play.”
Pochettino made two half-time changes, bringing on the fit-again Adam Lallana for his first game since December 8 and Steven Davis in place of Jason Puncheon and Gaston Ramirez.
It seemed to fire Saints up and they bossed most of the second half.
“Perhaps it was not really a tactical change, it was more just a change of players because we still maintained the way that we set out to play in the first half,” explained Pochettino.
“The player’s characteristics make it that the systems that we play in are different as well.
“It is the way that we want to play but, perhaps in the first half, we weren’t really able to do so.
“I’m not really happy with the way we played in the first half because that’s not really how we want to play, but I’m very proud and happy with how we played in the second half.
“Our performance in the second half is going to give my players the confidence to play on like that in the future.”
Saints got off to a flying start as a comedy of errors led to Rodriguez giving Saints the lead after little more than two minutes.
It raised hopes of a first league win at Old Trafford since 1988, but in the end Saints could not even manage what would have been a deserved third point in 18 subsequent visits.
“Footballers do make mistakes. It happens,” reflected Pochettino.
“The first goal was a combination of mistakes from the defender and the goalkeeper and also Jay being in the right place at the right time and being an opportunist.
“It is clear to me that these things can happen.”